Whole Lotta Hamlet at the Edinburgh Fringe 2010

Linda Marlowe's five favourite versions of Shakespeare’s text

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Whole Lotta Hamlet at the Edinburgh Fringe 2010

As ever there are numerous interpretations of Hamlet at this year’s Fringe, ranging from a hip hop version to Hamlet! The Musical. Here, veteran Fringe performer and woman of many voices Linda Marlowe, who appears in My Hamlet alongside a company of puppets, picks her five favourite versions of Shakespeare’s most famous text

Director Grigori Kozintsev’s film of Hamlet
Made in Soviet Russia in 1964 and starring Innokenty Smoktunovsky as Hamlet, this version is a visual masterpiece with magnificent black and white photography and a dramatic score by composer Dmitri Shostakovich, capturing the malevolence afoot in Denmark. Smoktunovsky’s Hamlet is a quiet and tortured soul in great contrast to the look and sound of other aspects of this epic piece.

Steven Berkoff’s 1980 production
This version, which Berkoff directed as well as performing the title role, featured a bare stage and a chorus of actors creating the set, the sounds, the poetry, the horror and the very fabric of the piece with physical virtuosity. It’s an example of ensemble acting at its best.

The Shakespeare Recording Society Hamlet with Paul Scofield
This recording, directed by Howard Sackler, was first published in 1963 but is still being re-released now. Although I never saw Paul Scofield play Hamlet, he was one of my favourite actors and it was a great treat even to hear him do it so brilliantly.

Mark Rylance as Hamlet at the RSC
Ron Daniels directed this production back in the 1980s, with Mark Rylance in the lead role. To me Rylance is always fascinating to watch in anything he does and his Hamlet didn’t disappoint me despite high expectations. The production was highly acclaimed and toured all over the UK and the United States.

Timothy Walker as Hamlet with Cheek By Jowl
This 1990 production, directed by Declan Donnellan in collaboration with international theatre company Cheek By Jowl, featured a definitive performance by Timothy Walker, hitting you with raw pain, energy and unromanticised integrity. A truly great Hamlet and my personal favourite.

My Hamlet with Linda Marlowe, Assembly Rooms, 623 3030, 7–29 Aug (not 14, 24), 5.20pm, £11–£12 (£10–£11). Previews 5 & 6 Aug, £5; The World’s Wife by Carol Ann Duffy, Edinburgh International Conference Centre, 17 & 19 Aug, 7.40pm, £12 (£10).

My Hamlet with Linda Marlowe

  • 4 stars

Inside everyone there is a Hamlet. They just need a stage... Bravura solo artist Linda Marlowe, Shakespeare's greatest text and six brilliant puppeteers from Fingers Theatre, Georgia. Hamlet as you've never seen him before. Ages: U

'The World's Wife' By Carol Ann Duffy

A new stage version of the acclaimed poems that imagine the wives’ perspective of famous men through the ages. From Mrs Faust and Frau Freud to Queen Kong and Mrs Midas, this delightful show slices through history and myth, whilst casting an astute glance over the modern world. Laced with dark humour and acerbic wit…

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